IDE drives auto detection problems + boot problems

Posted on 2003-03-11
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
Hi,I'm working on an P2 333Mhz.It have one HD of 3.2GB  and one of 40GB  + a cdrom.

My first problem was that my computer boot one time out of 10.  When not, the monitor did not even open but the two leds of my computer indicate that power is up. After many power up/power down, XP finaly start.

So, I get out all the drives to verify the IDE configuration and the jumpers setting.(In case of a conflict between IDE). I  put myn 40GB as the primary master, the 3.2GB as the primary slave and the cdrom as the secondary master. Now, it boot all the time but my BIOS can't detect any ide drive, not even the cdrom ? Worse, I can't start from a floppy even if my floppy seem's to be detected.

Is this a power supply problem a motherboard problem ? My Bios date from 1996.

thank's in advance !

Question by:shawnjm
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2
  • +1

Expert Comment

ID: 8118308
You say your BIOS dates from 1996. 40GB drives probably did not exist in 1996 and there is probably a /bios update available for your motherboard.

What type of PC is it?
What type of BIOS does it use?

You should be able to download the latest BIOS from your manufacturers web site.

You say you can't start from a floppy, is this the case when no hard drives are connected? Have you checked your boot order in the BIOS to ensure that the floppy drive is the first boot device.

If XP is loaded on the 3.2GB drive, will the PC boot with just this drive attached?

Also disconnect the CDrom drive and try booting with the two hard drives attached. I have seen CDROM drives hanging the boot process from time to time.

Let me know if you have any luck!

Accepted Solution

RiGMiK earned 225 total points
ID: 8118324
   You could try connecting just one drive at a time to the computer and testing boot.  Also, make sure the settings are correct in CMOS for the hard drive (Cylinders, heads, sectors, precomp, LBA)... and make sure the boot from floppy drive option is enabled, and the floppy is configured in CMOS also.  give it a try then let me know what happens.

Author Comment

ID: 8121076
to answer RiGMIK and  drcodrco:

A)Yes my boot options are 1-Floppy, 2-CDROM, 3- IDE-0 and the floppy boot is enable.

I've already try all the possible combinaison: 1 hard drive only, both, with or without CDROM. My drives are now invisible to the bios.

At first, the drive WERE appering on the bios. SInce i've swap them, all the IDE CHANNEL are tag "NOT INSTALLED". The auto-detect can't detect anything.

XP is installed on the 40GB HD but the boot sector is on the 3.2GB.Each drive was bootable before I swap them. By swapping, the bios reset the ide settings and after that, no more detection were possible.If I user define the cdrom as secondary master, I get an ATAPI error.<

I didn't try customize the settings of the drive (cylinder,, head, etc) coz I don't know nothing about this and I don't want the HD to be initialize (and loose my documents !) I've already heard that Large HD (more than 8GB) can't be detected by older bios. But even the 3.2GB can't ? Seems to me like a serious problem.

Finally, I don't remember my Bios name (maybe Phoenix)but I won't be able to update it without floppy drive !

Sorry for the long comment ! Hard to resume in a few words... Thank's again for your support.
Independent Software Vendors: We Want Your Opinion

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!


Expert Comment

ID: 8126479
Can you hear the hard drives spinning up, if so then the power to the drives is probably ok.

If nothing is installed except the floppy drive and it still won't work or is not detected properly then I would suspect the motherboard. Even if it is a bios problem, you can't update it without the floppy drive.

If anyone else has another idea hopefully they'll let you know.

Author Comment

ID: 8127745
Shame on me ! The IDE cable was plug in reverse !!! Now my CDROM and the 3.2GB drive are working.

But still the 40GB (maxtor 7200) is not autodetect. The bios freeze while it attemp to detect it. I reinstall win98 on the 3.2GB (hoping that he would see the other drive) but not at all.

I don't heard the drive spinning but the green led on the drive is on. I will try to find the specs and define the drive on the bios or maybe update the bios.

Hope plugging the ide cable in reverse didn't blow something...

Thank'S again for your help.

Expert Comment

ID: 8135045
Just a thought on the other hard drive not detecting...

Maxtor, Seagate, and Western Digital hard drives usually come with a utility on disk that enable an older computer to detect the drive.  It loads itself after BIOS is complete, and may help you to let your older computer identify the 40GB hdd.  Did the drive come with the software?  If not, check the web site of the hard drive manufacturer.  Let me know if this is of any help... :)

Expert Comment

ID: 8140478
So many systems have been saved through the use of a simple IDE controller card that costs less than $20. For older systems, I try to find discounted Promise Ultra-66 cards. Some cards can be flashed to provide 100 or even 133 support (in the case of the promise 100 controller bios update).
This takes the drive size issue out of the equation.
Look to the power supply rating. Anything less than 250 and you could be underpowering. Chronic underpowering is common among many PC makers in that processor range. I see 110 watt compaq PIII800's. YIKES!
Sounds to me as though you have some kind of bios "bs" going on. Look in BIOS main page for preset bios option. You may see something like LOAD BIOS DEFAULTS or LOAD SAFE SETTINGS.
Both of these settings enable the floppy disk and IDE controllers, and sets the IDE's to auto and the Floppy to 3 1/2.
This should keep you busy for a while.

Author Comment

ID: 8143002
Allright, PROBLEM SOLVE. ALL I had to do was to userdefine the specs of the maxtor in the standard cmos option: cylinder, heads, sectors (given at the maxtor website) and he was recognize.(no need for the maxtor utility) I didn't lost any data on it !

Not everything is fine. But I will never know why it had power up problem before I changed IDE channel. I guest it's better to have both drive on the primary IDE channel and only CDROM on the secondary... or maybe it's just that a connection was loose. Anyway, this case is close.

Thank's for your continous support, you've all been part of the solution.


Author Comment

ID: 8143024
In fact, for HD bigger than 32MB (and BIOS before 1998) autodetection will not work.(In fact, this can make the bios freeze !) You have to user define specs (cylinder heads, sector) given by the vendor.

And of course, don't plug your IDE cable reversed !!!


Featured Post

Technology Partners: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

No matter the version of Windows you are using, you may have some problems with Windows Search running too slow or possibly not running at all. Before jumping into how you can solve this issue, just know there are many other viable alternative deskt…
pc, laptop  monitor connection configurations
Finding and deleting duplicate (picture) files can be a time consuming task. My wife and I, our three kids and their families all share one dilemma: Managing our pictures. Between desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, and cameras; over the last decade…
In this video, Percona Solution Engineer Rick Golba discuss how (and why) you implement high availability in a database environment. To discuss how Percona Consulting can help with your design and architecture needs for your database and infrastr…
Suggested Courses

762 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question